Bored to tears at the health club?
I, for one, can't blame you. Exercising indoors has its allure and perks, but it doesn't equate to a shiny long-term relationship for many. Moving the body is an integral piece of diabetes management; finding a way to weave it into your daily routine is essential.
We release endorphins in response to both exercise and beautiful views — the two together are like peanut butter and jelly for the brain.
If you label yourself as one of those "January people" that join the health club at the turn of the year — only to let your membership lapse by June, paying your dues but not actually using it after the first month; you may be in need of a strong dose of outdoor exercise.
Where Health Clubs Turn Sour
Exercising indoors can hold people back in a number of different ways: through intimidation (can I wear spandex in public?), boredom (tired of running but not going anywhere?), cost (gym's aren't cheap) and an inability to form lifelong connections with the outdoors.
Esther Sternberg MD author of "Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being" states: "Environmental variables are really important. They're affecting the brain's stress response and the brain's relaxation response."
The New York Times reports that when it comes to exercising outdoors, studies report subjects enjoy outdoor exercise more. "On subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside."
According to the New York Times, studies have linked outdoor exercise to lower cortisol levels. This point rings a loud bell for those of us living with diabetes. Higher cortisol levels are linked to insulin resistance and higher blood sugars — lowering cortisol levels through stress reduction is a priority.
The Great Outdoors
Whether you're exercising inside or outside it's important to meet with your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regime.
In the clear? Lace up your shoes and bring the essentials: your glucometer, glucagon (for type 1's), glucose tabs, phone, water, a friend or two and hit the trail!